Lord, keep my attitude pleasing to You.
Read LUKE 9:46–50
46 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”
49 “Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”
50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Do nothing out of selﬁsh ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Phil. 2:3).
Once more the disciples get bad press. They have a bad attitude. Even in the most spiritual of environments, humans never seem to rise above vying for position and prestige. Here the disciples are fantasizing over who would be greatest in God’s kingdom when it comes. They remain far from learning the true values of that kingdom. But then, has very much changed?
By contrast, Jesus acts as the patient teacher and gives them an object lesson. Jesus is invariably tender towards children, and they seem to have flocked around him quite often. The child represents those who have no reputation or standing within human affairs. Although no doubt loved by the parents, the child is of no importance in social affairs and should be seen rather than heard. Yet such an unimportant child is to be welcomed, not ignored or overlooked, but treated with care and show consideration. Doing this is acting in Jesus’ name—that is, in his character. Those who can do so show that they have understood something about the kingdom in which standard social protocols are turned upside down: the least become the greatest (48). The carry-away for ourselves is “do not think of yourself more highly than you ought” (Rom. 12:3).
The attitudes in this passage are not conﬁned to those within the band of disciples. They have come across someone who is “not one of us” (49). The outsider has nonetheless been casting out demons in Jesus’ name, without their accreditation! Yet Jesus exhibits a generous, rather than a sectarian, spirit, an attitude of permission rather than prohibition (50). The fact that he says virtually the opposite in Matthew 12:30 is worth pondering. His statement there is not a contradiction, and the difference of context should be considered.
Reflection: Do you think it is true to say that when our attitudes are wholesome we can usually discern how to respond correctly to others?
Lord, I do not aspire to a position to which You have not called me but am content to function as one of Your ordinary servants.
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